Saturday group 2, comprised of Kevin Duffy, Nate and Laura Farley, Ellen and Iyad awoke before dawn and with backpacks loaded with sunblock, granola bars, peanut butter sandwiches and water to wash them down with, headed up the mountain that sits behind the hospital and Project Mercy. Two house boys were our guides. About an hour into our hike, we came to a lovely little mountain church with birds and monkeys in the trees surrounding it. We ate a little breakfast and enjoyed stunning views of the valley below. Heading on, we came across a trio of children. They looked so cute Iyad walked closer to take a picture. The little girl took one look at the giant, bald, white man heading towards her and went wailing into her brothers arms. We continued on, feeling a bit like the Pied Piper. We seemed to add a few children to our lineup with each group of tukals we passed…until we reached the knoll… and the passing out of granola bars. Then they disappeared. About 6 hours after our start, we reached our goal – the cluster of tukals at about 11,000 feet. The hike was gorgeous. The dimensions of the mountains, the beauty of the valley, the thrill of watching a hawk soaring below us cannot be described! We rested and lunched, before starting the rather torturous trek down. The path was covered with loose rocks of various sizes and we slipped and slid for hours, eyes glued to the trail rather than the beauty around us. On one break…to allow time to enjoy our surroundings.. we heard chanting. Peering through the trees, we saw a group of men working in the false banana fields and singing or chanting with every swing of their hoes. Super cool sounding! A bit further along, at another cluster of tukals, we saw the entire community helping to build a new home – from little boys handing up small sticks, to men on ladders weaving the walls. 11 hours and 17km later (if Iyad’s app was correct) we reached the walls of PM, exhausted and filthy and hungry. We had just enough time before supper for a quick shower. Kevin raced to his room to clean up. After cleaning up under the flow of cool water he realized he had forgotten something important….his towel. He stepped out to get that when he realized he was locked in the bathroom …only seconds before the electricity went out as is customary for an hour or two in the afternoon. Trapped!!! Had he survived the hot, high altitude mountain hike only to die of starvation, soaking wet, in the blackness of a PM bathroom??? Keep following these blogs to find out the plight of Kevin Duffy!